Question: If I interpreted correctly, once Pure Land is reached, our lifespan there will be as long as Amituofo’s? We can stay and train there until we are ‘one lifetime away from Buddhahood’. However, as there is no end of lifespan, does that mean this stage (and Buddhahood) is really far and beyond reach?
Answer: Our lifespan in Pure Land can be as immeasurable as Amituofo’s. However, as we will return to help others in Samsara as Bodhisattvas after training, our lifespan there is thus not infinite – there is an end point. If it becomes infinite, we would be unable to return. The immeasurable lifespan available means we can take as much time as required to train well, as Amituofo’s vows for sustaining his Pure Land will be valid for immeasurable time – for facilitating attainment of the stage of ‘one lifetime away from Buddhahood’. Opposite from staying in Samsara, where we have immeasurable unskilful means to distract us from enlightenment, in Pure Land, we have immeasurable skilful means instead. The immeasurable time and means available offer great spiritual assurance!
If we take forever to reach ‘one lifetime away from Buddhahood’, which is impossible, it would mean Pure Land is not a proficient school for training at all, as its students never graduate! The speed of graduation primarily depends on our spiritual capacities before reaching Pure Land. The more diligent a Dharma practitioner is now, the more one gets a headstart in furthering practice in Pure Land with its skilful teaching aids. The stage of ‘one lifetime away from Buddhahood’ is thus further for some, but closer for others. It is definitely within reach for both cases – just a matter of time and practice. If it is an eternally unattainable carrot dangling in front, there would be no point reaching Pure Land. However, it is indeed the swiftest and most efficient means of the Buddhas for guiding us towards Buddhahood.
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